Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Community with HART: 2012 Year in Review!

January:  2 Years of Consecutive Monthly Ridership Increases
New bus ready for inspectionJanuary marked 24 months of positive bus ridership growth. Whether it's been up-and-down gas prices, improved bus route designs and schedules, or increased awareness about the benefits of public transit, two years of continued ridership growth is no coincidence and no small feat. How are ridership reports generated? At the end of each month, HART batches farebox numbers recorded from bus passes that customers swipe when boarding the bus. These numbers are confirmed with information from Automatic People Counters that are on most buses and data collected from ride checkers, HART staff who ride several routes each month to survey passenger travel patterns.
February:  It All Started on a Bus
Next Stop with HART:  Tribute to Freedom Riders During Black History Month -- February 2012Next Stop with HART: Tribute to Freedom Riders During Black History Month -- February 2012

Every February, HART raises awareness about the role that public transit has played in social justice. After all, it all started on a bus in 1955 when Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on the bus and her subsequent arrest for it launched the Civil Rights movement.

Every day, public transit provides thousands of residents access to jobs, school and medical care. This is why most of our routes are designed to transport customers to and from large job activity centers, advanced education centers, and major medical facilities, such as hospitals.

As part of this year's "It All Started on a Bus" campaign, HART honored the Freedom Riders of 1961. For those who missed it, make sure to watch their special story.

March:  HART Sets Monthly Ridership Record
1,278,876 was the magic number that marked the highest bus ridership month in HART history! The previous record had been set March 2011.
April:  $4/gallon Gas Arrives
$4-a-gallon gas arrived to Tampa Bay for the first time in a long time. While gas prices have been up and down the past few years, HART fares remained steady for four years before they were revised this year. HART customers can count on reliable service and steady prices!
May: Making Buses Run On Time

Ever wonder how planning, scheduling and operations all come together to make buses run on time? The Tampa Tribune profiled the complexities of making it all work seamlessly in a story that published front-page May 7. Read Making Buses Run on Time

June: Ride HART. Be Smart.
Ride HART Be Smart
Ride HART. Be Smart. ridership etiquette campaign
HART launched this important campaign to educate customers on the importance of speedy bus boarding and alighting, helping to keep buses running on time while managing increased ridership. The main messages of Ride HART. Be Smart. were developed after polling HART bus drivers on rider basics for the best ways to shave off precious seconds needed to maintain and improve on-time performance. The campaign has been displayed in a variety of ways, on and off the bus and at bus shelters throughout Hillsborough County. View video of Ride HART. Be Smart. campaign

July: HART Receives Federal Funding for CNG Fleet

In 2011, HART received $2.3 in federal funding to build a Compressed Natural Gas fueling station and this year an additional $4 million was granted to HART by the U.S. Department of Transportation to purchase new CNG vehicles (vans/buses). This purchase will kick off the transition of replacing HART fleet from diesel engines to CNG-powered. These types of competitive grants for capital projects will pay dividends to residents, businesses and most importantly, customers. In addition, maintaining and improving transit capital infrastructure is critical to the sustainability of this agency, and ensuring safe and reliable service.    

Design for the CNG fueling station is scheduled to begin in early 2013; purchase of CNG vehicles will follow completion of the fueling station.

August: MetroRapid North-South Groundbreaking, RN
Next Stop with HART:  MetroRapid North-South Groundbreaking -- September 2012
HART kicked off the month breaking ground for the new MetroRapid North-South service, the first type of system of its kind in the Tampa Bay area. More than one dozen stations are now under construction, MetroRapid buses are in and the first, sleek new MetroRapid shelter has been installed at the University Area Transit Center. To receive regular construction updates about MetroRapid North-South, sign up for "Project Updates".

The month ended after participating in the most anticipated event of the year, the Republican National Convention. HART worked with local and federal planning officials for more than a year in preparation for RNC week, and worked hard to keep all routes operating so customers could get to work, despite road closures, crowd demonstrations, etc. For the first time, HART offered real-time email alerts to keep customers up to date on all route changes and service interruptions throughout the week. Once again, thank you for your patience!

September: HART Sets Annual Ridership Record, Strategic Goals

The HART fiscal year 2012 ended Sept. 30, and after crunching all the numbers, this past year marked the highest year in bus ridership with 14.3 million trips. That's a 4 percent increase compared to the year prior, or an increase of nearly 600,000 trips compared to the year prior. Once again, thank you for coming on board in record numbers! 
In September, the HART Board also approved strategic goals to strengthen the future sustainability and direction of this agency. These goals are now used company-wide by every HART department to ensure all areas of this agency are working to accomplish the same outcomes:  Exceptional service!
•    Exceed customer expectations
•    Ensure safety & security
•    Maximize financial condition
•    Foster a thriving internal environment
•    Connect the county and region
•    Embrace innovative practices and systems

October: Monthly Ridership Record, Streetcar Turns 10

Next Stop with HART:  Tampa's Streetcar Celebrates 10 Years
Take a virtual ride on the streetcar!

Continuing a year of bus ridership records, October's ridership surpassed the monthly record set in March by 65,000 trips. October totaled 1,344,854 bus trips!

Tampa's first electric streetcar lines were built in 1892 and quickly became an essential part of everyday life. To ride the streetcar was to feel the pulse of the community. The system reached its peak of popularity in 1926 with almost 24 million passengers. Tampa's streetcar system rolled to a stop in 1946, after World War II. But the bright yellow cars returned Oct. 19, 2002 as the TECO Line Streetcar System, and this year, the community was proud to celebrate its 10-year anniversary!
November:  Yukon Transfer Center Reopening, Tribute to Rosa Parks

Yukon ReopeningThe first HART transit center that opened in 1983 received a facelift, and HART celebrated this renovation project with a community reopening ceremony. In addition, the ceremony unveiled Rosa Parks bus plaques that will be installed on all HART buses. HART is proud to sponsor these permanent fixtures as tribute to the legacy of Rosa Parks.  December:  Story of Kindness Wraps up 2012
Wilfredo De La Paz finds $2,200 in cash and turns it in!The holidays are a perfect time to celebrate the good deeds of people, small or large. HART is proud to tout the good deed performed by Operator Wilfredo De La Paz, who found $2,200 in cash on his bus and returned it to its rightful owner, who was very grateful because it was money he was going to use as part of a down payment on a home. Watch the entire heart-warming story!

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